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Dishwasher Repair Guide

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1. Why does an error code display?
2. Why doesn't my dishwasher work at all?
3. Why are the dishes still dirty?
4. Should I pre-wash my dishes?
5. What's the best way to load the dishwasher?
6. Why aren't my dishes dry when the dishwasher finishes?
7. Why does the dishwasher seem like it is not advancing?
8. Why is there no water entering the dishwasher?
9. Is dishwasher detergent safe for my family?
10. Why doesn't the detergent cup open?
11. Why won't the dish water drain?
12. Why is my dishwasher leaking?
13. Why is there water dripping from a vent?
14. Why doesn't my dishwasher door close and latch?
15. How do I get the best cleaning from my dishwasher?
16. What should the water temperature be?
17. Why is my dishwasher beeping and lights blinking?
18. Why is the inside of my dishwasher discolored or stained?
19. Why does my dishwasher have an odor?
20. Why is my dishwasher filling with water when it is not being used?
21. Why is my dishwasher making noise?
22. How much and what kind of detergent should I use?
23. What can I do to get rid of spots on my glassware?
24. Why is my glassware scratched and cloudy looking?
25. Why do my racks roll in or out when the door is open?
26. What can I do to fix my rusty racks?
27. What do all the indicator lights mean?
28. Why do I smell plastic burning in my dishwasher?
29. What is the correct procedure for starting my dishwasher?
30. How do rinse aids work?
31. What is dishwasher salt?
32. Why aren't the sprayer arms turning?
33. Why is there still detergent in the dispenser when the dishwasher is done?

WARNING: To avoid personal injury or death, disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repair work. Use caution working inside any appliance.

Why does an error code display?

If you have a digital readout and you see an error code, you can usually look up the error code in your owner's manual to find out what the problem is.

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Why doesn't my dishwasher work at all?

If you have a digital readout and you see an error code, you can usually look up the error code in your owner's manual to find out what the problem is.

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Why are the dishes still dirty?

If the dishes are still dirty after the dishwasher has completed running, first check that you have the right wash cycle selected. This is because you may have selected a short cycle to save water and energy, but it is inappropriate for the load. If that's not the problem, check the water temperature, internal filters, detergent cup, drain valve, pressure switch, sprayer arms, and the water-inlet valve.

Use only detergents that are made for automatic dishwashers. Automatic dishwasher detergents are designed to be low suds. Soft water and hot water use less detergent, while hard water and cold water need more detergent to clean well. This readily available product, SofChek, will help you to determine if you have soft or hard water in a minute or less. These easy-to-use strips measure the hardness of your water in less than a minute. Just simply look at the colour chart provided on the bottle for an instant read-out of the strip to help determine the proper amount of detergent.

Good water flow, water pressure, fresh dishwasher detergent, and warm water are all needed for the dishes in your dishwasher to get clean. If the water is not hot enough, the dishwasher can not clean dishes as effectively as possible. To test the temperature, turn on the hot water on your sink to see if the water is getting warm quickly. The selector switch on your dishwasher may let you select a higher temperature setting. You can try that to see if it helps with cleaning. Be careful if you increase the water temperature of your household hot water tank. Your hot water tank should be set to deliver water at about 120F. This may help, but you don’t want to get scalded by it when taking a shower or washing your hands either. Most dishwashers use an internal heater to increase the water temperature to 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit before it will start cycling the dishwater through the spray arms. On some models you can use the Added Heat or Wash Heat Boost selection to increase the wash water temperature. Some dial timer models will let you select Hot Start or other extended washing cycles.

To keep the water free of debris during recirculation, every dishwasher has some kind of filter. Excessive food debris may clog internal filters. Make sure you at least scrape the dishes into the trash first. On some models these filters are self-cleaning, and they don't need to be cleaned regularly. Other models have filters in the bottom of the tub that you do need to clean. You can easily remove these filters. If a filter is full of debris, the water can not circulate properly, and could be causing the dishes to remain dirty. Check to make sure the filter is not blocked or clogged with debris.

The detergent cups have a tendency to get caked with old detergent. This can stop it from opening when it's supposed to. You can try to scrape off the buildup. It may not be worth the effort if it's caked badly, and would save you aggravation just to replace it.

During the drain cycle, the drain valve opens to allow the dirty water out. When the drain cycle is over this valve is supposed to remain closed to prevent water from leaving the dishwasher until the next drain cycle. If any debris plugs the valve, it will not close or seal properly. If it is not sealed, water will drain out while the unit is washing the dishes. If this is happening, you will hear water running in the drain pipes from the dishwasher. This is a sign that you need to clear the obstruction or replace the drain valve. One of the reasons for dirty dishes may even be that the drain valve is clogged and won't let dirty water out.

A faulty pressure switch can sometimes leave dirty water in the unit, or not let the unit fill enough. If you notice too much water left over in the machine after a cycle, this switch could be defective. Sometimes the float itself can get all gummed up with mineral and food deposits and stick in the float tube. It needs to be swapped out.

Occasionally, the spray arms can get clogged with debris. This can be caused by food or even hard water deposits. This prevents the water and detergent from getting to the dishes to clean them. If you notice a clog try to use a pipe cleaner, straight pin, or toothpick to clean the holes, or just replace the spray arm.

The water-inlet valve is another possibility. This valve is connected to the main water line from the house. If the dishwasher can't get enough water, it can't wash the dishes. This valve is actuated by a solenoid system. If it loses power, it can not turn itself off. Check for sediment buildup at the valve. Sometimes when a water-inlet valve is defective, you might hear a sound like a thump or bang. That’s often called a water hammer. Water hammer sounds are caused by a valve closing in the system, and yet the water in the pipe is still flowing because of its kinetic energy. The banging happens as the water hits the valve that prevents it from going any further. Does this sound occur when a valve closes or when the dishwasher is changing cycle? Sometimes high water pressure can cause this and other sounds to occur. You can test your water pressure using a pressure gauge. You would install this gauge to one water line in the house, and make sure no other water is flowing anywhere else in the home. Pressure over 60psi should be regulated by a pressure reducing valve. If the water-inlet valve is faulty, replace it.

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Should I pre-wash my dishes?

You do not need to pre-wash your dishes. Scrape off any large food debris, make sure the dishes are loaded properly and that you add the right amount of detergent to the load. Pre-washing just wastes energy.

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What's the best way to load the dishwasher?

The top rack is for glasses, cups, and saucers, with the cups and glasses fitting the best along the sides. The top rack is also a good place for any dishwasher safe plastics and strangely shaped utensils. Always face the items down and towards the sprayer arms. The bottom rack is good for any of your larger items including: large platters, bowls, plates, pots, and pans. The basic guidelines for loading a dishwasher are simple: place the dirty side of the dishes towards the spray arms, don't cover smaller items with a large item, place sharp utensils point downward, make sure fragile items are securely in place, and don't stack items.

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Why aren't my dishes dry when the dishwasher finishes?

If you have problems with your dishes still being wet when at the end of the dry cycle, check to see if the rinse aid dispenser needs filling, check to see how well the dishes are loaded, and make sure a large item doesn't block smaller items.

Did you use the proper amount of detergent? Too little or too much detergent can have an affect on how well dishes dry. Have you selected the heated drying option? A rinse aid can help your dishes to dry better also. Is the rinse aid dispenser empty?

The next things to check are the filters, drain valve, drying fan, heating element, and the thermostat. Sometimes a clogged filter will prevent all the water from being able to exit the unit. Clean or replace clogged filters. A faulty drain valve that leaves too much water in the cabinet can be to blame. Is there too much standing water left in the unit after the dry cycle is complete? Check for blockages at this valve.

Some dishwashers have a fan that circulates the cabinet air to help dry the dishes. If the fan is not working properly, you need to replace it. At the bottom of the dishwasher is a heating element that warms the air in the dishwasher. The increased temperature speeds up the evaporation process and decreases the drying time. Visually inspect the element and look for any burned or broken areas on it, and if it's burned out or if you can't measure continuity with it removed, it will need to be replaced.

There is also a thermostat that measures the water temperature and drying temperature. If the thermostat is faulty, the cycles may not complete properly. If it's faulty, you need to replace it. You may want to unload the dishes in the bottom rack first so that any water left pooled on dishes in the top rack won't spill onto the bottom rack's dishes.

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Why does the dishwasher seem like it is not advancing?

Most dishwashers heat the incoming wash and rinse water to a higher temperature. During these cycles, your dishwasher will pause as it waits for the water to reach the right temperature. Sometimes, the water entering the dishwasher is too cool, and the heating element can take up to a half an hour to heat the water to the correct temperature. This is one reason that the timer seems to not advance correctly.

Another reason is that the timer may not advance if the detergent cup is blocked from opening. You can always open the dishwasher door and visually inspect around the detergent cup to verify that nothing is blocking the detergent cup from opening. The detergent cup should always be completely closed before a cycle begins, and completely open at the end of a cycle.

If it's not a water heating problem, everything else seems to be functioning correctly, and the timer knob is not advancing, the timer itself may be broken.

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Why is there no water entering the dishwasher?

If you have no water entering your dishwasher, check the door latch, the household water supply to the dishwasher, the float switch or overfill protector, and the water-inlet valve. Many dishwashers have a timed fill rather than a metered fill. Some turn-to-start models may take several minutes before they start filling.

To measure the level of the water in the tub of the dishwasher, there is a plastic float near the bottom of the dishwasher that activates a switch once the water has lifted it to a certain level. If the switch is not working properly it could prevent water from entering the dishwasher. Additionally, if the float gets stuck, the switch will be activated and keep the inlet valve from allowing water into the dishwasher. Make sure that the float is moving freely up and down. If the float or the switch are not working properly, they need to be replaced.

All of the water enters the dishwasher through the water-inlet valve. If the water-inlet valve does not close, you can disconnect the power to either the valve or the dishwasher, and the flow of water should stop. If there is any debris or hard water deposits keeping it open, you will need to turn off the water supply to the dishwasher and replace the valve. 

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Is dishwasher detergent safe for my family?

Dishwasher detergent is safe when used according to directions. Store it properly, and make sure kids and pets don't have access to it. You don't want them to accidentally ingest any of it.

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Why doesn't the detergent cup open?

If the detergent cup doesn't open, check the detergent cup, the bi-metal switch or wax motor, and the timer. Make sure that no dishes are blocking it from opening.

The cup that holds the detergents can get caked and gooped up with old detergent. You should try to clean away any old detergent. If you can't clean the detergent away, you should replace the cup.

The bi-metal switch is activated by the timer and is an electrically operated device that bends when electricity is applied to it. It uses two different metals that are bonded together. As they warm up, they expand at different rates causing the metal to bend. The degree of bending can be set with a high degree of precision. Many devices use the bi-metal switch. A lot of newer dishwashers use a wax motor instead of the bi-metal switch. The wax motor has a wax block that gets heated up when the timer sends electricity to it. The wax expands as it gets heated up, and it pushes a plunger that opens the detergent door. Depending on how your dishwasher is wired, the switch may be wired through the motor circuitry or through the heating element. If the heating element is broken, there will be no electricity to properly activate the switch or heat the wax block in the wax motor to open the cup. If the motor doesn’t let enough electricity through its circuit, the bi-metal switch won't operate properly, or the wax motor wax block won't get heated up to expand and push the plunger.

On many dishwashers, an actuator arm links the timer to the detergent cup. When the timer reaches the correct time of the cycle, it activates a lever that opens the cup. If this link is broken or in any other respect faulty, the cup will stay closed, and won't let the detergent into the dishwasher. Check this linkage and either fix or replace it.

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Why won't the dish water drain?

If the water won't drain from the dishwasher, first manually remove as much water as possible and then check the sump area for paper or any other large object. Make sure the door is properly latched. The pump will not drain if the door is not latched properly. Check the belt, drain line, air gap, drain valve and solenoid assembly, the motor, and the pump. If your dishwasher uses a belt to drive the pump, and it has broken or come off the pulley, replace it.

A cup or so of water in the sump area of your dishwasher is normal. It is there to prevent the seals from drying out. The dishwasher will pump this old water out before beginning to wash.

If you have recently installed a garbage disposer in your home, make sure that the drain plug on the disposer has been removed. It's just a little plastic piece that blocks the hole where you hook the dishwasher drain hose. If your dishwasher drains through the garbage disposer, you need to run the garbage disposer before you run the dishwasher to make sure that the drain is clear.

There is a drain hose between the drain valve or pump and the garbage disposal or drain line. If an obstruction has blocked this, then your dishwasher won't drain. The drain hose is connected by clamps to the drain valve and the disposer or drain pipe. Remove it and visually inspect it for a clog or a kink. Try to remove any debris. If it is in good condition, just put it back on, and if not, purchase a new one to install.

If you don't have an air gap in the drain line, at least use a high drain loop. Making a large loop about 18" off the ground with the drain line can prevent any back flow into the dishwasher from the sink.

If you have one, the air gap will be located on top of the sink. The air gap is there to prevent any siphoning of standing water from the sink. When your dishwasher drains, the air gap diaphragm will form a seal and allow the water to drain properly. If the diaphragm in the air gap is faulty, it’s possible that water can leak onto the cabinet and into the sink area. When this happens, then the air gap must be replaced.

Like the inlet valve, there is also a drain valve on most models. When no power goes to the drain valve it remains closed and prevents water from leaving the machine. When the valve receives power during the drain cycle, the solenoid opens and allows the water to leave the machine. If your drain hose is attached directly to the pump, you don't have a drain valve. The motor simply reverses and the pump sends the water in the opposite direction, which is out of the machine.

If the motor doesn’t turn or work properly, the dishwasher may not drain. Make sure you have power to the unit. If you notice that the motor hums but won't turn, it could be seized, and you probably need to replace it.

Small objects can sometimes get stuck in the pump. When this occurs, you’ll need to open the pump and remove any debris buildup. The dishwasher pump is usually mounted directly to the motor and runs off the motor as well. The pump is also attached to the bottom of your dishwasher and pushes the water from the dishwasher.

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Why is my dishwasher leaking?

If your dishwasher is leaking, try to identify exactly where the leak is coming from. Following that, you should check the main tub seal, the door latch, the door gasket, the water-inlet valve, and the fill and drain hoses. If there are suds present in the leaking water, you may be using too much detergent. Make sure that your detergent is fresh and is made for dishwashers. Spilled rinse aids may cause suds and lead to an overflow situation. Wipe up any spills promptly with a damp cloth. You'll also want to make sure the dishwasher is level.

You’ll find the main tub seal underneath the drain impeller. When working properly, the seal prevents the water in the dishwasher from leaking into the shaft of the motor. A water-filled dishwasher should only have water levels that barely cover the heating element. More than that could indicate an overfill problem.

An improperly aligned door latch can allow water to leak from the door. Check for proper alignment and make sure that the latch isn't bent or deformed in any way.

Where the door meets up with the tub of the dishwasher, there is a gasket or seal. It may be attached to the door or the tub. As it ages, it can lose its ability to seal properly. There is no repairing a bad gasket, and you'll have to replace it to stop any leaks.

The water-inlet valve is usually at the bottom left or right of the dishwasher, behind the lower access panel. It's connected to the main water line from the house. You'll see the water lines connected to it. If it stays open, it can allow water to keep flowing into the dishwasher causing a flooding situation.

There are several rubber hoses throughout the dishwasher. If one is leaking at a connection, and there is extra length on the hose, sometimes you can cut the bad part off and use a new clamp to fix it. If there is no extra length, you will have to replace the hose.

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Why is there water dripping from a vent?

Some dishwasher models have an air vent in them. Refer to your owner's manual for the location of a vent in your unit. This vent remains closed until the dry cycle, when it opens to allow water vapor to escape. Sometimes the moisture will condense and a few drops may fall on the floor.

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Why doesn't my dishwasher door close and latch?

If your dishwasher door is giving you a problem check the door seal, hinges, door latch, and the door springs. Open the door and look to see if anything is blocking it from closing completely. Look at the racks to see if any dishes are getting in the way. If you have a new dishwasher or have just replaced the seal on your old one, the seal may not be broken in yet and the door may not latch properly until the seal is broken in. Just give it some time, and after some use, it will usually start sealing well on its own. Some newer models require you to push in on the centre top of the control panel as you're latching the door.

The door is held on by a pair of door hinges. They help to make sure that the door closes and seals properly. When the door is open, they are very vulnerable. Children sit on them, parents trip over them. These types of things can cause the hinges to bend and make it difficult for the door to close. Once the metal has been weakened, it is best to replace the hinges. If you try to straighten them back to the shape they were in before, they will usually just bend again.

At the top of the door is the door latch. This is where the door latches closed and activates the door switch. Usually you can adjust these and resolve the problem. If your model isn't adjustable, you'll need to check for other causes. If the latch is no longer working, simply replace it.

To make it easy to close the dishwasher door, there are two springs, one on each side, that act as counterweights for the door. If one or both is broken or overly stretched, the door can become difficult to lift closed. If you notice a bad spring, you should replace both springs.

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How do I get the best cleaning from my dishwasher?

Loading, water temperature, detergent, and rinse aids are the four things to pay attention to here. Loading is very important to a good cleaning. Load so that you don’t block any sprayer arms, and distribute the dishes so that they all get sprayed by the wash water.

Water temperature is another key to getting your dishes clean. The temperature should be at least 120F, and up to about 150F. Most dishwashers will pause while they heat up the water to the proper temperature. If your unit is hooked up to the kitchen sink, you may want to run the faucet for a few seconds to ensure that the water entering the dishwasher is already hot. It is very important to use fresh detergent, so keep it fresh and dry. You can store it in an airtight container. Many manufacturers recommend discarding old and lumpy detergent as it may not dissolve fully, and may leave a gritty residue. Using the right kind and amount of detergent is also very important to getting dishes as clean as possible. The use of a rinse aid can help to keep dishes spot-free and keep dish drying time down.

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What should the water temperature be?

The water temperature entering the dishwasher should be at least 120F, and up to about 140F. If you want to determine the water temperature as it enters the dishwasher, run the faucet nearest the unit into a cup or glass for a few minutes, until it gets about as hot as it's going to get. Insert a meat or candy thermometer into the cup and watch it until it doesn't go any higher. The water entering the dishwasher will be about this temperature.

You can try running this faucet for a few minutes before using the dishwasher. Then the unit will not have to pause as long while it heats the water to the desired temperature. You can also raise the thermostat setting on your hot water tank, but be very careful. You don't want to raise it too high and risk someone getting scalded by it being too hot.

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Why is my dishwasher beeping and lights blinking?

Blinking lights and beeping sounds are generally warnings specific to the model dishwasher. Consult your owner's manual to determine what the signals you see or hear mean.

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Why is the inside of my dishwasher discoloured or stained?

Depending on the colour of the stain, it could be several things causing the problem. Red, pinks, or oranges could be tomato sauce stains. Yellows, grays, and browns are a mineral buildup. To remove any mineral or rust stains, you can try running citric acid or a commercial product like Glisten through your dishwasher, then rinse the dishwasher out by running the unit again with a full cup of detergent. If the rust is coming from your household water supply, you may have a plumbing problem. You can also use a water filter to reduce rust. To prevent red stains from tomato sauces, spray the plastic container with Pam cooking spray or olive oil before use. Some people use baking soda and water to remove these stains.

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Why does my dishwasher have an odor?

Has the dishwasher been sitting for over a week? There is always some water left in the bottom of the dishwasher. If it hasn’t been used recently, it may be fermenting with old food particles. Check around the tub bottom for any food residues and remove any food found. Look near the pump inlet for any type of debris, and clean out whatever is found. Examine the sprayer arms for any food debris clogging the holes. Use a small object such as a toothpick or paper clip to clear the holes, making sure not to damage the arms or the holes. Always scrape the dishes into the trash before washing them. Run a complete cycle without dishes to clean the unit.

If there is water building up in the bottom of the dishwasher between uses, the drain hose has been improperly installed. Proper installation requires either the use of an air gap or a high drain loop to prevent any back flow into the dishwasher. There are other possible reasons for an odor. Please refer back to this question and answer.

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Why is my dishwasher filling with water when it is not being used?

Some water always remains in the sump, but if it is filling while not being used, it may be back siphoning through the drain, not draining correctly, or this could signal a bad water-inlet valve.

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Why is my dishwasher making noise?

If your dishwasher is getting loud or making a weird noise, you should check the heater fan, motor, water-inlet valve, and pump. Sometimes the bearings in the heater fan may get worn out or rust. If this happens, it may become very noisy, either grinding on the bearings, or scraping against the rust. If this happens you need to replace the fan motor. Sometimes, a fan blade may come loose, and you need to replace it.

Sometimes it’s the motor that makes the noise you hear. The motor has bearings in it which may become worn or get rusty. When the bearings get worn, they allow the shaft to wobble which can get quite loud. If there is a spin seal leak, water may get inside the motor, washing the bearing grease away. If the spin seal is leaking, you’ll notice water leaking from under the dishwasher. There is also a disc attached to the top of the motor called a slinger. It sometimes breaks off and spins around the motor's shaft while it turns, causing some noises. You will need to replace the motor if the bearings are bad. You also need to replace the motor if the slinger is broken as well.

Newer dishwashers may make a squealing or rattling noise on the first run. This is because it has not had any water in it yet, and the motor seals are dry. You may hear this in a unit that hasn't been run in a week or more as well. You should operate the dishwasher regularly to keep the sump water from getting smelly, and to keep the seals lubricated. You can add a quart of water to the sump before running it.

Rattling noises may be produced by dishes rattling inside the dishwasher due to the water pressure from the sprayer arms on the dishes. To determine if the rattling is a loading issue, run the unit empty. If the sound is persistent, it may be that there is debris in the pump.

Dishwasher water-inlet valves are noted to make a hum that lasts about 60-90 seconds several times during a washing cycle. This hum is a different hum than the sound of the motor running.

A rhythmic knocking or thumping sound may be caused the sprayer arms hitting something as they go around and around. Rearrange the dishes and resume the wash.

A clunking or clanking may be heard when the detergent cup opens; while a clicking sound may be produced by the timeror electronic control panel.

A solenoid makes a snap sound when it opens. This happens about six times during each load.

Pipes rattling or banging may be caused by a water hammer effect. Water hammer sounds are caused by a valve closing in the system, and yet the water in the pipe is still flowing because of its kinetic energy. The sound is caused by the water slamming into the closed section of pipe. A plumber can install an anti-hammer device.

Small objects can sometimes get stuck in the pump. When this occurs, you’ll need to open the pump and then remove the item that is making the noise or replace the pump. The dishwasher pump is usually mounted directly to the motor and runs off the motor as well. The pump is also attached to the bottom of your dishwasher.

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How much and what kind of detergent should I use?

Always use the recommended amount of detergent, and the brand your manufacturer suggests if possible. Soft and hot water uses less detergent, while hard and cold water needs more to clean well. You need to determine what’s best for you through trial and error.

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What can I do to get rid of spots on my glassware?

You can use a product like Glass Magic in your dishwasher to eliminate hard water spots on your dishes and glassware. It works by removing minerals in the water so that your detergent can work best. It prevents hard-water build-up when used regularly.

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Why is my glassware scratched and cloudy looking?

This is usually because you have soft water and used too much detergent. Unfortunately, those scratches are there to stay, but you can prevent further damage to your glassware by using less detergent.

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Why do my racks roll in or out when the door is open?

The dishwasher door ought to lay flat if the unit was installed properly. If your racks roll back in when the door is open, the door springs may need adjustment, if they roll out or in and the door is flat, the dishwasher is probably not leveled properly.

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What can I do to fix my rusty racks?

We carry several dishwasher rack repair kits. These include touch up paints and tine ends. You can bring new life to your dishracks with just a few minutes work. We carry various colours including: White, Blue, and Gray. We also carry just touch up paints or just tines if you need one and not the other.

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What do all the indicator lights mean?

Many times the indicator lights are model specific. It is best to refer to the owner's manual for detailed explanations of the lights.

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Why do I smell plastic burning in my dishwasher?

New dishwashers will have a new plastic smell on the inside, but if you smell burning plastic coming from your dishwasher, immediately shut it down. Open the door and slide the rack out. Look at the bottom and make sure that no plastic has melted to the heating element. Sometimes small plastic items can get pushed off one of the racks from the force of the sprayer arms and land on the element. Make sure the element has cooled down, and then remove the plastic. The unit should be fine after this. If you can not find a visible reason for a plastic burning smell, we recommend calling a professional appliance repair person before using the dishwasher again.

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What is the correct procedure for starting my dishwasher?

The correct procedure for starting your dishwasher is: Make sure nothing blocks the sprayer arms when loading, always add a quality detergent, choose the desired cycle and options, close the door and latch it, and start the dishwasher. Some dishwashers automatically lock and begin the cycle, others you need to manually lock and start.

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How do rinse aids work?

Rinse aids work by using chemicals called surfactants to help prevent drops of water by reducing the water's surface tension. By reducing the surface tension of the water droplets, the water will drain off in thin sheets, rather than forming pools of drops that dry and leave marks from the dissolved lime scale mineral elements. Because there is less water left on the dishes, this can also greatly speed up drying times and saves energy. 

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What is dishwasher salt?

Dishwasher salt is a particular grade of sodium chloride salt, and is used for recharging the built-in ion-exchange resins of the water softener in dishwashers that have a built-in water softener. The salt particles are larger than the size of table salt particles, and dissolves slowly enough that it will not clog the softener unit. This salt does not have added iodide salts, and it should have minimal amounts of iron and manganese salts. Some dishwasher detergents are marketed as not needing dishwasher salts. These detergents use higher levels of phosphate that increases the solubility of hard water ions. Never use table salt or detergent in the salt compartment of your dishwasher as this will damage your water softener unit.

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Why aren't the sprayer arms turning?

Make sure that nothing is blocking the sprayer arms. Some models of dishwashers have an alternating sprayer arm washing system. What this does is cycle the washing action between the lower sprayer arm and the middle sprayer arm. The cycle begins with the lower arm spraying first, then switching over to the middle sprayer arm, and back again through-out the washing cycle. The sprayer arms will pause as they switch over from one to the other, making it sound like the sprayer arms aren't turning. If you're sure that the arms are not turning at all, open the dishwasher and verify that nothing is blocking the sprayer arm rotation, and that there is water in the bottom of the sump covering the filter area.

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Why is there still detergent in the dispenser when the dishwasher is done?

If there is still detergent in the dispenser when the load is done, make sure the cycle has actually finished, and make sure that nothing has blocked the dispenser cup from opening fully. Otherwise, you may have old detergent. Discard the old detergent and use fresh detergent.

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